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All About Interpreters and Translators

Career Description Interpret oral or sign language, or translate written text from one language into another.

Life As an Interpreter or Translator: What Do They Do?

  • Read written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrite material into specified languages.
  • Discuss translation requirements with clients and determine any fees to be charged for services provided.
  • Train and supervise other translators or interpreters.
  • Check original texts or confer with authors to ensure that translations retain the content, meaning, and feeling of the original material.
  • Listen to speakers’ statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.
  • Adapt software and accompanying technical documents to another language and culture.

Skills Needed to be an Interpreter or Translator

These are the skills Interpreters and Translators say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Types of Interpreter or Translator Jobs

  • Bilingual Interpreter
  • Translator and Interpreter
  • Interpreter-Bosnia-English and Albanian-English
  • American Sign Language Interpreter (ASL Interpreter)
  • Paraprofessional Interpreter

Is There Going to be Demand for Interpreters and Translators?

In the United States, there were 68,200 jobs for Interpreter or Translator in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 17.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 12,100 new jobs for Interpreter or Translator by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,800 positions for Interpreter or Translator per year.


The states with the most job growth for Interpreter or Translator are Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, Montana, or Delaware. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Interpreters and Translators Salary

Interpreters and Translators make between $27,230 and $90,610 a year.


Interpreters and Translators who work in District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Interpreters and Translators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $40,510
Alaska $52,990
Arizona $46,100
Arkansas $34,260
California $58,180
Colorado $70,050
Connecticut $47,560
Delaware $53,860
District of Columbia $93,730
Florida $49,300
Georgia $55,670
Hawaii $45,580
Idaho $37,650
Illinois $46,320
Indiana $41,700
Iowa $37,840
Kansas $40,190
Kentucky $49,690
Louisiana $40,440
Maine $63,210
Maryland $70,530
Massachusetts $55,600
Michigan $41,450
Minnesota $52,730
Mississippi $52,110
Missouri $62,610
Montana $37,910
Nebraska $43,760
Nevada $52,150
New Hampshire $49,970
New Jersey $74,750
New Mexico $58,700
New York $68,940
North Carolina $59,310
North Dakota $35,250
Ohio $58,380
Oklahoma $35,240
Oregon $50,090
Pennsylvania $50,100
Rhode Island $50,380
South Carolina $44,950
South Dakota $37,650
Tennessee $43,550
Texas $58,650
Utah $43,830
Vermont $46,270
Virginia $70,770
Washington $48,560
West Virginia $38,590
Wisconsin $50,750
Wyoming $48,750

Tools & Technologies Used by Interpreters and Translators

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Interpreters and Translators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Extensible HyperText Markup Language XHTML
  • Voice over internet protocol VoiP system software

How to Become an Interpreter or Translator

What education is needed to be an Interpreter or Translator?


How Long Does it Take to Become an Interpreter or Translator?


Where do Interpreters and Translators Work?


The table below shows the approximate number of Interpreters and Translators employed by various industries.



Image Credit: Susana Freixeiro via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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